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korean University Freshman: a teachers nightmare!
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KoreanLifer



Joined: 30 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2003 12:46 am    Post subject: korean University Freshman: a teachers nightmare! Reply with quote

these folks have to be the most unmotivated group of individuals in kr. i sometimes wonder why universities implement basic conversation English into their schools at all..after i finish teaching freshman at the end of the day i feel i have accomplished absolutely nothing with these folks.

i sometimes compare the lax attitude of the these Freshman to Kr as a whole.pleasure 1st while everything else is secondary!
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Dr. Buck



Joined: 02 Mar 2003
Location: Land of the Morning Clam

PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2003 2:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The trick is to not feel guilty about not accomplishing nothing. Did you teach and do your job? Yes? Good. Now cut out of the office early and buy yourself a beer.
Your concerns are nothing to get worried about. I'm sure you have better things to think about once you drop such fancy ideas about "getting things accomplished."
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kricket



Joined: 25 Feb 2003
Location: The Land of Kimchi and OB Beer

PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2003 5:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

it's never been about "getting an education".... What the Korean university experience is about is socializing and meeting people of the opposite sex for the first time and trying to impress them...if you can learn something in the classroom - that's just a side benefit...
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Gladiator



Joined: 23 May 2003
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2003 6:37 pm    Post subject: Korean Freshmen, a teacher's nightmare Reply with quote

All three previous posters made interesting observations about how Korean uni. students apply themselves because these very same values carry over into company/professional life once they graduate.

Koreans are essentially hedonistic folk, not that that's a bad thing but it curiously offsets their often puritancial ways.

Relationships take priority over accomplishments here, be they academic or professional.

Sorry if it's slightly-off topic .
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Medic



Joined: 11 Mar 2003

PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2003 9:53 am    Post subject: korean University Freshman: a teachers nightmare! Reply with quote

The Korean Professors hate there freshman as well. On the other hand you have to see where these students are coming from. They have slaved their guts out for the last three years in either academys or in cram sessions organized by their schools with no opportunity to be creative or to think independently. They have had to study during vacations, and on Sundays and Saturdays, so is it any wonder that they let their hair down and goof off a little when they attend colleges or university. Sure they might not be educated in the most efficient manner possible, but they did have to work hard to get through.
Universities did in the past fail a lot of students. Sogang university in particular had a reputation for demanding high standards of it's students, and had no compunction in failing tardy students who didn't come up to standard. The parents however got very upset, and demonstrated for more leniency on their sons and daughters on the basis that they had devoted much of their own energy themselves to ensure that they would pass the necessary end of high school exanination
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Trinny



Joined: 01 Feb 2003

PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2003 12:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is there anybody teaching at the so-called top-tier universities? How about students from these universities? Do they goof off as well?
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JennyJJ



Joined: 01 Mar 2003

PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2003 1:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not at a top-tier university - but I do have a different sense about my students. And personally, I think a lot of how they behave depends on your attitude. I don't agree that Korean university professors hate freshmen either.

I'm just trying to take an opposing view here as it is YOU who sets the tone in the classroom. Realistically though, I've taught in Africa and Asia and there is (in almost any country) a population of about 1/3 who don't care, 1/3 are waiting to be convinced (this is where you come in!) and 1/3 who really want to take a crack at it (unless you turn them off somehow) and 5-6 WHO are really super interested.

The bottom 1/3 you can't do much about - so DON'T let them shape your attitude. Construct your attitude from that top 1/3 and the five or six who really care. Then you will see your whole experience at the university change (just my opinion).

I hope I don't sound pissy, but there is really nothing to be gained from a jaded, burned-out, "the students s*ck" attitude. I've always taught for the five or six in the front that really really want to learn. They are a delight - and make it all worthwhile. If I can keep the top 1/3 with me and convert the middle 1/3 - then we really have something going.

If you wish to be a professional, put on a professional attitude, it is more than half the battle.
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kimcheeking
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PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2003 2:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JennyJJ wrote:
If you wish to be a professional, put on a professional attitude, it is more than half the battle.


Exactly! you whole post is what I was going to write. Well-done.
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rudyflyer



Joined: 26 Feb 2003
Location: pacing the cage

PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2003 4:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah the students this year seem particulrly dumb/unmotivated this year. We've been told that its because the univ had to lower its standards just to get bodies. Anything below the top tiers from what I've been hearing from various univ teachers had a tough time getting students so they take anybody. Also hear that the gov't may try and shut down univs because of the glut of univs

At my school (a 3rd tier school) its been the most maddening semester I've ever had here. It used to be a breakdown like JennyJJ said and I could deal with that. This year if I have 10 students out of 150 who actually care, I'd be amazed. I get students who still say "The children is", I could go on about how dumb these kids are this semester, they can't figure out how to operate the elevator (I'm putting elevator questions on my final as bonus questions). Yesterday I had 2 students who were excused from class so they could open a BANK ACCOUNT. Our admin like what somebody said about Sogang is allowing the students to get away with murder. Students lie about class outings to get out of class and we are told to mark them present even for that.....

On the upside remember that yes the inelligence/maturity levels of the freshmen this year is incredibly low, and you can feel your teaching skills are atropying (yeah I know spelling Wink ) but think the preps are easy and you don't take work home with you.

sorry for the rant on this one but like the OP I'm incredibly frustrated with my freshmen this semester
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dutchman



Joined: 23 Jan 2003
Location: My backyard

PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2003 4:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you've ever taught in a high school here you would understand their situation. For the first time in their lives they don't have someone hounding over them telling them exactly what they have to do. They are not forced to wear uniforms. They are not beaten or humiliated for failing to do their homework (at least not in my class Very Happy ). And, they have free time. It's quite reasonable for them to behave the way they do for the first semester or two in university.
Having said that, this is the best freshman class of the four I have taught at my university. Maybe my school is attracting better students now or something (at one point it was considered the lowest uni in Seoul).
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desultude



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Location: Dangling my toes in the Persian Gulf

PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2003 4:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm with Jenny JJ.

I teach a mixed group of students (freshmen through seniors) who all live together in an English language dormatory. Some of the freshmen show up in their p.j.s and fall back to sleep in my 7 AM class.

And some of them come to my office at 11 at night with grammar questions about some article they are independently reading.

They are young, and enjoying their first freedom after years of grind, and I think that they know, before years of more grind.

I really love all of my students. They are kind and solicitous, and funny as hell. And I LOVE the way they gasp at every stupid little Korean thing I do- like spell a three letter word in Hangul, or finally pronounce a name correctly. Some teachers on another thread think that this is odd, funny and problematic- I find it endearing. When one of their fellow students say something right for the first time, or screw up the courage to speak in class when they are painfully shy, they applaud and cheer. And when there is a class game and I reward the winner with a box of cookies, everyone cheers and then shares the cookies.

And, yes, it hurts my feeling when less than half of them show up for class, and half of those that are there fall asleep- my feelings are hurt and I question my abilities as a teacher. So then I get a little pissed. But really it is nothing personal. You are right Jenny, it has taken me a while, but I have decided to teach to those who want to learn. I'm not angry with the rest, and I hope that they come along next semester.
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steroidmaximus



Joined: 27 Jan 2003
Location: GangWon-Do

PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2003 5:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Things that irk me about working at a Uni:

- 2 minutes notice: We have a departmental meeting with the president today in an hour. Say this, and this, and this. -or- There is a lecture today with a visiting prof. We knew about it three weeks ago, but you can just reschedule your class. Your semester plan won't be that affected, now will it -or- today is sports day. Come play soccer for the dept at 2:00. I'm wearing a suit. Luckily, I anticipated something like this, and keep shorts, t-shirt and sneakers in my locker in my office.

- suggested textbooks: written by colleagues, chock full of mistakes, and when I proof them, never seem to make it to the printers. So do I make my colleagues look bad by correcting the mistakes in class, or do I teach poor English? I choose the former.

-Student whine and gripe: I have a job. I can't come to class or do any homework. Please give me an A+. Um, no. Sign out of my class and take someone else's. This has caused me grief with the colleagues. -or- Professor, please give me A+, I want to get a good job / go to X university. Did you do the work? No. Well, no A+, sorry. I am Napoun Sangsengnim. -or- Teacher, too much homework. hmmm let's see: you have 4 assignments all term, they're not essays, or research projects. They're based on class material. Hmmmm. . .-or- I missed class because I was, ur, sick! yes, I was sick! I had a bad cold. And stomach ache.

- grading on the curve. Now I know this happens everywhere, but if a student does no work and never comes to class, why should I be forced to not give them an F? I've caught grief and had grades changed without my consent. Annoying.

- Acceptance criteria: call me crazy, but if a student can't answer the question "what is your name"? I don't think they should be studying English at the Uni level. And I've been told umpteen times that my pronunciation is excellent, that people have no problem understanding me when I speak. The student like the one described above simply doesn't have minimal English skills. The thing is, students like this one will probably get a degree, then go on to teach English or use it to gain some sort of employment.

These are major ones. I try to be understanding and accept cultural differences, but the fact is it's my name tagged on to those grades. I've gotten a reputation as being a hard-ass as far as the grading is concerned, but I can live with that.

Opinions?
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rudyflyer



Joined: 26 Feb 2003
Location: pacing the cage

PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2003 5:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

steroid my gripes are the same as yours with 2 exceptions, one we don't have to grade on the curve though I've had that at other schools and thats maddening I had to give students who made 95's "B"s I tell them its not my fault and to go to the _________ office to complain.

Haven't had the textbook thing come up yet. Profs know not to bother me for that one unless there is a large sum of money up front for it I won't do it.

The gripe I have here is our standardized midterm/final and now oral exams. We are supposed to cover certian parts of the textbooks and with all these holidays I've had a hard time getting to it. They also choose topics that these students have no cultural clue of (ie calling 911, check books, US brand names, street directions) Now they are making us give an oral exam despite the fact the book we use has very few oral activities nor it doesn't really allow you to develop oral stuff if you want to cover the material for the standardized final.
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KoreanLifer



Joined: 30 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2003 5:35 pm    Post subject: korea uni students again Reply with quote

this is my 7th year teaching Uni students and 03 has been the worst year so far teaching Freshman.it seems our school has opened up the flood gates and let just about anyone in here.i have quite a few students in their early & mid 20's entering uni for the first time.many of these folks have wrote the CSAT 2 or 3 times.many uni's r hurting financially & need the $$$.

its probably best to focus your energy on those who want to learn English in class and let the others sleep!
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The Lemon



Joined: 11 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2003 5:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Now they are making us give an oral exam despite the fact the book we use has very few oral activities nor it doesn't really allow you to develop oral stuff if you want to cover the material for the standardized final.

I'm quite happy to give oral exams. I don't have to deal with a mountain of test papers. 5-7 minutes per student, evaluated on a rubrick. I find it draining for the couple of hours per class, but it has so many advantages. It's also pretty much impossible for them to cheat on an oral test - everyone gets slightly different questions, and there's no one to copy from.

When I've tried to do paper tests, the cheating has been atrocious.
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